Sunday, May 18, 2008

Justice League of America #175 - Feb. 1980

sgThe return of the villainous Dr. Destiny!

The Story: "But Can An Android Dream?" by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin. We open with a bunch of JLAers begging someone not to resign from the JLA. But its no use...Red Tornado is leaving the JLA!

He tells his friends that he finds himself to be the least reliable member of the JLA, and he can risk his friends' lives no more. So matter how much they try to talk him out of it, he feels he has no choice to leave.

He beams himself back to Earth, landing in Central Park. Here he transforms himself back into his civilian identity of John Smith, where the male half of a couple on a picnic can't believe his eyes when he sees Reddy. The girl he's making out with thinks she's the cause of his hallucinations, so she takes it upon herself to ramp the picnic up a notch:
sg that's a fun date!

Anyway, Reddy goes to visit his orphan charge, Traya. Meanwhile, Dr. Destiny is safely tucked away in Arkham Asylum...or is he?

Turns out the Dr. Destiny the guards see is in fact a hallucination, and its actually his Arkham psychiatrist in there, but the guards think its Destiny in there. He is, of course, planning a scheme that involves a machine he's created that turns people's dreams into living nightmares.

Meanwhile, we find Red Tornado, as John Smith, revealing to his love Kathy Sutton that he is, in fact, the android The Red Tornado! Traya tells Kathy she loves him, flesh or no, and after a few moments, Kathy says she loves him, too.

They then attend Halloween Parade, where suddenly people are attacked by giant, nightmarish(!) monsters! He tries to stop them but is fought off by a dream-like duplicate of himself!

But Reddy finds the machine that these visions seem to be coming from, and destroys it, just as some of the JLA arrive to help. Red Tornado, now filled with confidence and love and support, is ready to come back to the JLA.

Roll Call
: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Hawkgirl, Zatanna

Notable Moments: The opening splash page is filled with the JLA begging an as-yet-unknown person not to leave the team. Each member gets to say something, except for Batman, who remains stone-faced. Batman doesn't have time for this crap.

Red Tornado gets a nice chance to shine here, and Kathy deciding she loves this "man" is genuinely touching.

Even though the story seems to end here, it is in fact continued, as we'll see tomorrow:


Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

And, of course, the title is a tip of the hat to Roy Thomas' classic Avengers story "Even an Android Can Cry."

I always really liked Red Tornado so I was happy any time he was the focus of a story in Justice League of America. I think the JLA writers had a difficult chore trying to keep Reddy from devolving into a pale imitation of the Vision and, in general, I think they did a good job of it. Sure, they hit the "what's it mean to be human" angle often. But that idea - a machine searching for its place in a flesh and blood world - certainly predates the Avengers' android member.

And the origin that Gerry Conway cooked up for Reddy beats The Vision's creation story any day!

Commander Benson said...

In contradistinction to the above poster, I absolutely hated the Red Tornado! (Not the primary, but definitely one of the reasons why I consider the last true JLA issue to be # 63.)

I got so tired of his whining. "I'm not human! Boo hoo!" "I foul things up! Boo hoo!" "I don't understand human customs! Boo hoo!" He's right: he doesn't belong in the JLA; mainly because all of the other members would be fed up with listening to him moan and groan. It didn't happen often in the post-Fox/Sekowsky years, but the rare occasions when I cheered over something in "the Satellite Era" were the two or three times when the Red Tornado was destroyed.

Now, before everybody chimes in, yeah, yeah, I know what the writers were going for with the Tornado. They were trying to make him some sort of metaphor for all of the teen-agers who were trying to "find themselves" (whatever the heck that means). And as annoying as it was, at least it would have been tolerable if the Tornado had shown any kind of growth. But, no, regardless of how many times he had saved the world or had demonstrated all the important qualities of humanity, it never finally sunk into his synthetic brain that he was an O.K. guy. No, he just kept whining the same refrains over and over.

I've never had any use for heroes with inferiority complexes. At least not ones who gripe about it. If I had been a JLA member, after the meeting where we kicked Green Arrow out the door, I would have been suggesting at the next one that it's time to jettison the Red Tornado.

Tick-Tock Tyler said...

After the preceding issues, I expected to see that it was GA who was resigning. I was surprised to find out it was the Red Tornado. Actually, I was somewhat hopeful he would go and stay gone.

I had grown to like the Red Tornado just before he got destroyed the second time in #129. In fact, I really liked how Cary Bates used him in #121, giving encouragement to Adam Strange. The fact that he was trying to bolster Adam's ego made me think that Reddy had gotten over his own inferiority complex.

Unfortunately, Steve Englehart and Gerry Conway re-introduced the inferiority complex following his next resurrection. The whining was back, and worse than before.

But Gerry finally addressed that in this story. By the end of #175, Reddy should have had all the confidence he would ever need. When I got to the last page, I was glad to see the Tornado back in the JLA.

BTW, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin really made Kathy Sutton look gorgeous in this issue. Too bad we didn't see much of her in JLA again.

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